Call for shorter Meaningful Use attestation period reaches fever pitch

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) is continuing to urge for a shorter reporting period for eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals (EHs) to attest to Meaningful Use--and now has the backing of 28 of her colleagues.

In a letter sent this week to Health and Human Services Department Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, lawmakers voice their concerns about the ability for EPs and EHs to participate in the program and ask that HHS "immediately provide a shortened, 90-day reporting period in 2015." The reporting period currently required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is 365 days.

The letter to Burwell was sent out a day before CMS announced that about 257,000 physicians would be hit with a 1 percent penalty for failing to meet MU by Oct. 1 of this year.

"We are concerned that a full-year reporting period will complicate the forward trajectory of Meaningful Use and jeopardize the $25 billion in federal investment made to date," the lawmakers write in their letter.

In September, Ellmers (pictured) introduced a bill called the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting (Flex-IT) Act, which would nullify the Meaningful Use flexibility final rule and give attesters the option to choose any three-month quarter for electronic health record reporting in 2015 to qualify for the program.

Ellmers' letter wasn't the only one to land on Burwell's desk that month. More than 17 healthcare industry stakeholders also joined together to write to the health secretary, urging HHS to reconsider the requirement.

Those stakeholders frustrations are increasing this month, with many of them blasting CMS about the MU program following its most recent penalties announcement.

To learn more:
- read the lawmakers' letter (.pdf)